Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012
A new UT medical school is on its way! On Tuesday night, voters in Travis County gave an emphatic endorsement for a medical school at The University of Texas at Austin by approving Proposition 1, signaling their support for both a UT Austin school of medicine and creating an essential healthcare safety net in the Austin community.
Central Health, Travis County’s hospital district, called Proposition 1 a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to create a comprehensive, research-based school of medicine – the only one of its kind on an academic campus in Texas – while filling a critical need for more physicians in Texas and providing first-rate healthcare to underserved communities across Central Texas.
A school of medicine at UT Austin will enhance the university’s reputation and position it in an even stronger stance to compete for the very best faculty, graduate students, scientists, grants, philanthropy, technology commercialization opportunities and public/private partnerships. The groundbreaking biomedical research that will be enhanced as part of the UT medical school will have global impact on improving lives. This is vitally important as President Powers leads UT Austin to be the best public university in the country.
While there is no doubt that UT Austin will benefit from a medical school on campus, it is Texans who will receive the ultimate advantage. UT System leaders are working aggressively and successfully with private hospital partners to increase the number of residency positions, both around the state and in Austin. We know that if a medical student does his or her training in Texas and stays in state for their residency education, there is an 82 percent chance they will remain in Texas to practice medicine. Texas needs more doctors and we want to fulfill that need.
A medical school at UT Austin will also provide great benefits to the local community. The passage of Proposition 1 will allow Central Health to contract with the medical school for services and design an innovative, community-based model. Professionals will train for careers in medicine by delivering patient-based care throughout Travis County, creating a partnership that will focus on keeping people healthy across Central Texas.
The UT System Board of Regents is dedicated to this mission and the regents’ support of a medical school at UT Austin has been the driving force behind making it a reality. We thank the many supporters across Texas who have long championed this effort, particularly Senator Kirk Watson - a leader in this charge from the beginning. Former Chairman of the Board of Regents James Huffines launched the idea and worked hard early on to bring life to the concept. Current Chairman Gene Powell led the charge of the Board of Regents to allocate $25 million per year to UT Austin to support the school, along with $5 million per year for the next eight years to recruit star medical faculty. And of course, our Executive Vice Chancellor Ken Shine worked tirelessly with Seton Hospital, UT Austin, the Austin business community and other partners to create all of the necessary elements of the project. We look forward to witnessing the exciting efforts that President Powers and Executive Vice Provost Steve Leslie will lead to grow the school to maturity. We are ready to begin the work of building a world-class school of medicine at UT Austin, one that will benefit generations of Texans.
Read the statement I released to the media, along with statements from Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell and UT Austin President Bill Powers.
With great respect and gratitude for your support,
Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.